Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Alamo Cannon - Bronze Four-Pounder

A four-pound bronze cannon that may have been used in the Texas war for independence was placed on permanent loan for display at the Alamo by the San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy.  The cannon believed to have been cast in Mexico in the mid-eighteenth century, could be the only known bronze, Spanish cannon used by defenders that has been recovered.  Like other known Alamo cannons seized and disabled by Mexican troops after the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, its cascabel and trunnions---parts used to elevate and mount the cannon---are broken off.

Researchers believe the cannon may have been given by the Samuel Maverick family to a Philadelphia family named French after the Civil War as payment for a debt.  For many years, the cannon was displayed on the lawn of Howard B. French's country estate in Pennsylvania.  A Confederate artillery general, Samuel French, a relative of the Philadelphia Frenches, lived in San Antonio for a short time.  His brother, John C. French, was a longtime San Antonio resident and is known to have served on a railroad  line board of directors with Sam Maverick.  The Philadelphia French family had a factory that dealt in building goods and may have accepted the cannon as a partial payment by the Mavericks or someone else in San Antonio.

A history advocate, J. P. Bryan, bought the cannon from a collector in 1986.  It was then resold to John McRae of Dallas, who had a wooden carriage built for it.  McRae's daughter donated the cannon in 2008 to the San Jacinto Conservancy, who then had it restored at Texas A & M University's Conservation Research Laboratory.  It was placed on Permanent loan to the Alamo by the San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy in 2010 with stipulations that the cannon be kept safe and indoors.

The 21 cannons at the Alamo in 1836 are said to have included several brass cannons and a variety of iron guns, from two-pounders to the compounds storied eighteen-pounder.  Historians believe the four-pounder may have been used at the wooden palisades by the chapel, on a platform in the chapel, or near the main gate on the compound's south end.

The conservation of the cannon has been paid for by donors listed below who asked that the following inscriptions be placed on a commemorative plaque at the Alamo.  The donors and inscriptions (in parenthesis) are as follows:

  • Beth and Pat Aucoin (Paschal & Elizabeth Aucoin)
  • Louis F. Aulbach (Louis F. Aulbach)
  • Roger E. Beeler (Roger E. Beeler)
  • Randy Billingsley (Randy Billingsey)
  • Thomas E. Brents II and Melinda L. Brents (Tom, Melinda, Sarah, and Emily Brents)
  • Elizabeth Coon-Nguyen (The Nguyen Family --- Elizabeth, Tu, Catherine & Julian)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Galen Coon (Cathlyn & Galen Coon)
  • Cecilia Davidson (Cecilia Driscoll Davidson)
  • Dr. Gayle Davies (Dr. Gayle Davies)
  • Jan DeVault (Bryan, Arlette, Nicholas & Mark DeVault) (Chris, Chelsey, Maddie, Jackie, Alex & Vivi Devault) (Scott, Mirta, Tomas & Emily Monette) (Jeff, Natasha & Sophia Monette) (Lee Miller) (S. T. "Buddy" & Ruth Miller)
  • Gregg Dimmick (Madison Pearl Dimmick) (Audrey Rehe Dimmick) (Benjamin Russell Kacer) (Brooklynn Rehe Kacer)
  • Ron and Lin Drees (Rona and Lin Drees)
  • Barbara Eaves (Barbara Eaves)
  • Charlie Fogarty (Charlie Fogarty, KSJ)
  • Colonel Richard & Linda Gorski (Colonel Richard & Linda Gorski)
  • Judy and Mike Habermehl (Judy and Mike Habermehl)
  • Sharon Hanan (Sharon Lyon Hanan)
  • Randal Allen Hankla (Randal Allen Hankla)
  • Houston Archeological Society (Houston Archeological Society)
  • Cecil N. Jones (Cecil N. Jones)
  • Matthew J. Jurick (Matthew Jurick & Vesna Mohorovicic)
  • David L. Martin (David L. Martin)
  • Steven and Melissa (Marrs) May (Steven and Melissa (Marrs) May)
  • Melissa May (The Churchwell & Roddy Families)
  • Melissa May (Keenan and Brandon May)
  • Roger Moore (Roger G. Moore)
  • Joe Edd Nelson / Gerold Reimondo (Joe Edd Nelson / Gerold Reimondo)
  • E Dwight Osteen (Dwight, Maria, Mia, Evan and Ben Osteen)
  • E Dwight Osteen (The Ennis and Osteen Family)
  • Robert E. and Dorothy E. Pledger (Robert E. and Dorothy E. Pledger)
  • Jay and Stacey Roussel (Roussel Family)
  • Kameron Kent Searle (Kameron Kent Searle)
  • Mildred Stelzig (Mildred Lymberry Stelzig)
  • Mildred Stelzig (Chris G. Thodos)
  • Fenner and Darcel Weller (Reese Weller) (Graham Weller) (Will Weller) (Riley Weller)
  • Fenner Weller (Tom Horan Family)
  • Fenner Weller (Russell Gordy Family)

Source: See San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy affidavit, Bexar County Deed Records, Book Type OPR, Book 16524, Pages 806-808, filed January 23, 2014.

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